THE Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) tournament “bubble” at Clark City in Angeles, Pampanga, is now in its homestretch and has proven to be a success, something the league is very grateful for, giving credit to the cooperation of stakeholders, particularly the players and coaches.
From a full complement of 12 teams in the restart in October, competition in the PBA Philippine Cup is now down to two teams, with the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings and the TNT Tropang Giga getting their best-of-seven finals series going later on Sunday.
The finals series is the culmination of the PBA wanting to squeeze in at least a conference in its coronavirus pandemic-hit season, going the bubble way where it had all tournament participants holed up in a specific area for a duration of time.
This is to allow them to have a close contact in a very defined and exclusive setup to guard against the spread of the coronavirus and operate with less disruption.
While the bubble had its hiccups, especially in the early goings, including a player and a referee initially testing positive for the virus, the PBA has managed to overcome them and has seen its vision for the bubble, by and large, fulfilled.
“Yes. I’m satisfied [with the way the bubble has turned out],” said PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial on the Power & Play with Noli Eala radio program on Saturday.
“I give credit to the players for giving their all during the games and cooperating. They are not holding back on their play. And the coaches, who did not complain about the scheduling where we had them playing almost every day,” said the PBA chief.
He also threw praises to the management and staff of the Clark Development Corp. and the Bases Conversion and Development Authority for hosting them and guiding the league, especially when it hit a rough patch.
“We are lucky we are in Clark. The security is strict to ensure the integrity of the bubble. They have put up good protocols for us to follow. We initially had hiccups with the early positive cases, but with the help of the CDC and BCDA, we were able to deal with them accordingly. And we’re happy to report that there have been no positive cases since then,” Mr Marcial added.
The PBA decided to suspend its 45th season in March as the coronavirus started to make its presence felt in the country.
On Oct. 11, the league started with its bubble, with the Angeles University Foundation Sports Arena serving as the official game venue and the Quest Plus Hotel inside Mimosa serving as home to the 350-strong PBA delegation. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo